Inclusive Design









Measuring Product-Related Stigma in Design 

Kristof Vaes, Pieter Jan Stappers, Achiel Standaert

University of Antwerp, TU Delft, University of Antwerp (2)

Keywords: product semantics, design for health, design and emotion, inclusive design


Many medical and assistive devices are experienced as unpleasant and uncomfortable. On top of their discomfort, product users may also experience social unease. We label this process “product-related stigma” (PRS). This paper presents two measuring techniques that aim to objectively assess the ‘degree’ of PRS that is ‘attached’ to products. Both experiments focus on the behavioral deviations in the walking path of passers-by during a public and unprepared encounter with a user of a stigma-sensitive product (dust mask). The ‘Dyadic Distance Experiment’ measures exact interpersonal distances, whereas the ‘Stain Dilemma Experiment’ presents the passer-by with a choice in his walking path. Both experimental techniques are predominantly suited as comparison tools, able to compare products on their PRS-eliciting potential. Designers and developers can use these results to justify design decisions with quantitative data, to assess which product properties have influenced certain reactions, and to what extent subsequent improvements have been successful. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Vaes, K. Stappers, P.J., Standaert, A., (2016). Measuring Product-Related Stigma in Design  Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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